Wednesday, 6 December, 2023

Paine to take break from cricket


Nov. 26: Former Australia Test captain Tim Paine is set to miss the Ashes series against England after announcing he will take an immediate break from cricket.

The wicketkeeper stepped down as skipper last week over a historical investigation into sexually explicit texts which he sent to a female colleague in 2017.

In a statement, Cricket Tasmania said Paine, 36, had advised them that he was taking a leave of absence "for the foreseeable future". It added that it "will continue to support Tim and his family both professionally and personally over the summer".

Fast bowler Pat Cummins succeeded Paine as Australia Test captain on Friday, with batsman Steve Smith promoted to be vice-captain.

Earlier this week, the state association's chairman Andrew Gaggin said Paine's treatment by Cricket Australia had been "appalling." Paine's manager James Henderson wrote on Twitter that the player was taking "an indefinite mental health break".

He added: "We are extremely concerned for his and [wife] Bonnie's well-being and will be making no further comment at this time."

Paine sent messages to a co-worker at Cricket Tasmania in November 2017, leading to a misconduct investigation after she made allegations against him in 2018.

He said he was "exonerated", with Cricket Australia (CA) clearing him of any breach of their code of conduct at the time and Cricket Tasmania deciding "no further action was required or appropriate".

However, after learning the texts were set to be revealed publicly, Paine stepped down in a tearful press conference in Hobart, saying his actions did not meet the "standard of an Australian cricket captain, or the wider community".

The first Test against England is due to start on 8 December in Brisbane.

Paine was appointed Test captain after Steve Smith was banned for a year for his part in a ball-tampering scandal and attempted cover-up during a series against South Africa in March 2018.

He led Australia in 23 Tests, winning 11, losing eight and drawing four but under his captaincy, Australia retained the Ashes in 2019 with a 2-2 draw, becoming the first Australia side to retain the urn in England since 2001.

However, they were also beaten at home by India in both 2018-19 and earlier this year, with the latter series featuring Australia's first Test defeat at the Gabba in Brisbane since 1988.

Paine also apologised for his behaviour in the drawn third Test against India in Sydney in January, after sledging spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and being fined 15% of his match fee for showing dissent and swearing at umpire Paul Wilson.

Earlier this week spinner Nathan Lyon and batter Marcus Harris both said Paine had the team's "full support".

"The selectors said they were going to pick the best available XI," Lyon said. "In my eyes, Tim Paine is the best keeper in the world."